The purpose of this project is to gain an understanding of how empathy is negotiated in medical education. Specifically, how and why empathy declines in students due to the medical school environment. To conduct this research, I started by reading the existing literature on the topic. I then read the theories I believed to be relevant and applicable to my project. The literature and theory then led me to decide to conduct interviews with medical educators and doctors. I found that the decline of empathy in medical education is a well-accepted experience. The environment of medical education is detrimental to its students. I argue that this environment contributes to a decline in empathy of future medical doctors, and this persists through the trajectory of their careers. I further argue that curriculum reform can help to combat the negative impacts of the medical education environment on students. This study promotes awareness to a series of issues perpetuated by medical education systems and how an increase in empathy could have a positive impact.


Tierney, Thomas


Sociology and Anthropology


Medical Education | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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